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Rhubarb

They had come from the city to spend Christmas with their grandfather. He was an intolerant, religious man, especially impatient with the younger sister. His hearing was poor, but he could see that she was bored.


For no good reason, except to entertain her sister, the older one decided to ‘jump in’, and lead the prayers, after the rosary (properly called ‘the ejaculations’-a source of great mirth, to them). Their grandfather coughed angrily, but allowed her to continue.


Mirror of justice
Pray for us, they responded
Seat of wisdom
Pray for us
Cause of our joy
Pray for us
Spiritual vessle
Pray for us


Having established the rhythm, she glanced at her sister and winked.


Spuds and butter
Pray for us
Strawberry jam
Rhubarb and custard
Pray for us
Bank of Ireland
Pray for us
Bank of England
Pray for us
Two little ducks
Pray for us


She could not stop..Every bingo call, food combination and other possibility that tumbled into her head.


She’d gone too far. He knew something was going on and was offended. He took over and quickly ended the prayers, still kneeling, facing the wall and the sacred heart lamp. They knew that he was crying.


“Oh..aren’t ye the great, smart people, up there, in the black north”.